Tuesday 22 November 2011

A Review for Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Posted by Jess
Published Date: April 1st, 2007
Finished Date: November 22nd, 2011
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 303

The blurb from Goodreads: Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.
After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.
Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.
The Review: "Are you following me?" She asks, but doesn't meet my gaze. "Yeah" I say. "Why?" "Honestly?" She looks at me, her eyebrows raised. I give her the only honest and true answer I have. "You're where I want to be."
I'm gradually beginning to love Simone Elkeles more and more. Why? Because her writing style is fantastic. She has this way to capture the more real things that happen in live and put them onto the page. Leaving Paradise is the second book I've read of hers, and she didn't disappoint. 

Leaving Paradise has two alternate POV's one from Caleb the other from Maggie. I've said this before I don't always love multiple POV's but I like it when its 2 characters only. This totally worked, I loved seeing how both Maggie and Caleb feel after the accident that left Maggie with a limp and Caleb in juvenile prison. This book had me from page one, it just completely draws you in and the characters are written so well that they feel super real and you connect with them on some level. Both Maggie and Caleb are likeable characters, and this is a story about forgiveness, being strong and finding what you need most in the other person even if you are the victim or the criminal. 

I've read Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry (First book only), and I think Leaving Paradise was better. Everything just feels more real, more plausible. Real people, real feelings, real actions. The love between Maggie and Caleb is naturally a slow to start because of the hate that Maggie feels towards Caleb for what he did. But as soon as they start to work for the same old Mrs. Reynolds, they begin to form a bond that's centered around them both being outcasts. I didn't feel it happend too quickly (Their love I mean). I personally think it was just the right amount of pacing, the right amount of tension. Everything was beautifully written, and thought out.

I'm not sure if I can say much more without going off on a tangent; so I'll stop there, and just mention that I urge everyone to pick up Leaving Paradise, if you haven't already done so. You won't be disappointed. And if you liked her Perfect Chemistry trilogy, then you'll love this.


test said...

This book is really amazing! Simone Elkeles had me loads of tears for this one. I really love her works.

Jay @ We Fancy Books

Lesley said...

I've had this on my shelf for AGES but just haven't got round to it. Funnily enough I didn't read Perfect Chemistry until I read Donna's review as that sat on my shelf for ages and I ended up LOVING it!!

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